How do I wash my scarf?
All scarves, except the Rashid should be washed by hand. Hand wash gently by soaking in cold water for 20-30 minutes with a mild soap for delicate textiles. Rinse by soaking in plain water. Do not agitate. Colors may bleed. Gently squeeze. Fold in half, lay flat on a towel, roll up and gently squeeze again to remove excess water. Do not wring fabric, it could damage the fibers. Lay flat to dry. Iron on warm temperature between a cloth to protect scarf.
What about my Rashid?
DRY CLEAN ONLY. If you try to wash your Rashid scarf with water, the crinkly effect will be gone unless you spend a long time tying a thread through the scarf in a waffle weave pattern throughout.
Why are these darn things so expensive anyway?
These scarves are unique, either hand woven or machine woven on small production antique looms or homemade looms, by families in Northern India. The Pashmina Taftas are hand spun wool as well and the fibers are too thin and delicate to be machine woven. The scarves are hand dyed in small batches, most in our color choices. When you consider that, in some cases, more than a month of effort goes into the production of a single scarf, we think the cost doesn't seem that high anymore.
What is pashmina?
Pashmina is the term for cashmere in India. Pashmina is widely and incorrectly used on all sorts of scarves. It is a term often used to refer to a soft scarf of any material, such as wool, rayon, blends or even synthetic scarves. True pashmina is 100% cashmere and the price will reflect this quality. Our pashmina is from a particular goat, the Khangaru goat, that lives in the Himalaya's of northern India. You might not find this name if you search for it on the internet, but this is what the local shepherds call them. They get sheared in late winter and the wool gets to Kashmir for cleaning, spinning and weaving. We traveled from Kashmir to Leh to find them. You hear all sorts of stories in India about which part on the goat is the softest. I can tell you, the whole goat is consistently very soft all over, but I think the fur on the tail and ear look the softest.
How can I tell the difference between a hand woven carpet and a machine made one?
There isn't any single sure-fire method, but there are a few things you can look for. First, take a look at the design of the carpet from the front. Then, turn the carpet over and take a look at the back. The design should be just as clear on the back as it is on the front for a hand woven carpet. Machine made carpets are sometimes glued, which obscures the image from the back of the carpet. Another clue is how flexible the carpet is. If you can fold the carpet easily in half, it's more likely to be hand woven. Each of the carpets we have for sale on our website has detailed, high-resolution photos of both the front and back, so you can see the clarity and density of the knots.
Agh! I spilled wine on my carpet. Now what? (or coffee, tea, curry or urine)
No need to worry, just deal with it immediately. Blot it with a damp cloth to remove any standing moisture. If necessary, squeeze some lemon and a little salt and rub the affected area with the pile. Use only small amounts of water. Dry flat in sunlight or hang.
To wash the entire carpet, lay out on a flat surface. Use buckets of plain water on the face until thoroughly wet. Fill one bucket with mild soap for delicate textiles and pour it evenly across the face of the carpet. Use a wooden spatula or thin piece of wood and scrape towards the pile. Then pour more fresh water all over the surface of the carpet. Roll up the carpet to squeeze out most of the water. Unroll the carpet and dry the carpet flat in the sun for a few hours.
Make sure that the carpet is fully dry before putting anything on the carpet or rolling it up. It must be able to fully breathe until completely dry. Damp silk carpets rot easily.
How do I tell which way the pile lies?
The carpets we carry are all made on standing looms. As the weaver ties each knot around the warp and weft (the vertical and horizontal threads that form the foundation of the carpet) he pulls the thread down before cutting it to length to form the pile. That means that each thread in the pile points toward the ground. When the carpet is taken off the loom and laid on the ground, the pile leans towards the end of the carpet that was originally on the bottom of the loom. When viewed from what was the top end of the carpet, light will be reflected from the sides of the fibers, and because silk is highly reflective, this will give the carpet a lighter, shiney appearance. When viewed from the opposite end, the end that was originally towards the ground, the viewer will be looking into the pile. Light will tend to get swallowed up in the pile instead of reflected out and the carpet will take on a much darker, richer appearance.
This is one reason why these carpets are so difficult to photograph and have so much life when you see them in person. They look dramatically different depending on how the direction and distance from which they are viewed.
If you stand at the lower end of the carpet, where the pile appears darker, and push away from you, you will be pushing "into the pile." That will cause the pile to stand taller. If you stand at the end of the carpet where the pile looks shiny and lighter and push away from where you stand, you will push "with the pile" and you hand will flatten the pile, giving it a smoother, brighter look.
Having pile that sits at an angle to the floor, rather than standing straight up and down brings some important benefits. First, if you place a heavier piece of furniture on this type of carpet, the pile will simply be pressed flat, without damage. If the pile stood straight up, the furniture would tend to crush it, creating those little indents or "carpet crop circles". Having pile that stands at an angle also means that the carpet stands up to dirt and wear more effectively.
I'm not seeing an answer to my question here. Can I just email you?
Of course. You probably aren't the only one who's wondering the same thing. We'd be delighted to answer any questions that we haven't already. Ask us at firstname.lastname@example.org.